Sunday, February 27, 2011

Parental Punch List

I know you've been crying into your pillow every night because your fave bloggette has been a little slow this week, but we just haven't had much going on.  Fortunately, my parents came up this weekend and helped us complete a laundry list of home improvement items.  Aren't helpful parents the best?  Here's your rundown:

  • The bamboo blinds arrived for the sliders.  I was especially happy that they arrived while my parents were up - Momsy and Daddykins have a great critical eye and will give me constructive advice on the house decor.  I love the mister to death, but a helpful critic on home decorating he is not.  So I was quite pleased to have some in-person opinions on what I considered a bit of a window treatment risk.  Verdict:  love.  Daddio was pleased with the function and Mamacita was pleased with the appearance - put those hands together and you have exactly what I was going for.  Happy dance.

Don't you just love the warmth and completeness it has verses this pic?  It brings a brown tone that we have  in baskets and our granite over to this half of the area.  And total cost for both shades?  $30 from  Cha-ching.
  •  Mom unclogged Alli's sink.  Gross, I know.  But Ryan and I had pulled the drain out and run $50 worth of Liquid Plumber down the thing trying to get it to drain at the right speed (or at all).  Enter Handywoman Stacie to go underneath the sink and show us how it's done.  It drains perfectly AND she fixed the stopper that we pulled out trying to fix it.  Gotta love her.
  • After Mom unclogged the sink I walked in the kitchen and said "Now all I need is for Dad to install a light over my shower and I'm golden!"  I was joking.  I really was.  But shortly thereafter we made the trip to Home Depot (so happy I got to introduce the workers to my pops) and got the supplies.  And just about an hour after that....let there be light.

How about that?!  I had no idea this process was so easy!!  Ryan and Dad had it done in literally an hour.  This isn't a show-you-how-to-do-it blog, but Meredith at Welcome to Heardmont and her hubby followed a similar process that she detailed here, in case you need it.  Seriously, so easy.  Now I'm looking up and wondering where else I can put some...a girl can never have enough light.

Well, I'm off to wrap up the weekend by cleaning up, some spray painting, and a glass of wine.  You know, just trying to add to the cork collection.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bitchin' Kitchen

Don't be a prude.  It totally rhymes.  And you know I have a bit of a potty mouth, and the "b" word is my second favorite behind the "s" word.  And what else rhymes with "kitchen??"  So go with it.  This isn't your grandma's blog.

So anyway, as you know, we repainted the kitchen this weekend.  And by "we" I mean me.  No cred for Mr. Lowe here.  All your girl.  The result was ah-maz-ing.  I certainly loved our purple kitchen, but the lighter brighter Lotus Leaf was a welcome change!  Let's dive right into pics, shall we?  Here's an idea of just where we were before.  Dark purple walls, dark accents, and (EGAD!) vertical blinds.

And here we are today:

Aw hells yeah.  How airy and bright is that??  What a difference!!  There's still plenty left to do.  I plan to add a window treatment to the window above the sink, replace the green rug with something a little more neutral and durable (maybe jute?), and replace the slipcovers on the chairs with some pretty new grey ones.  But how about no more vertical blinds?!  Woohoo!!!  I'm thinking I'm going to add some bamboo blinds above them a la my fave blog Young House Love, as seen here.  Something to fill in the wall between the trim and the curtain rod above the door.

And what about that spray painted mirror above my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house, the buffet? Definitely lightens up that area.  Mama likey.

Hope you had a fantastic weekend !!  I'm exhausted!!  And sometime in the next few weeks I'm hoping my good man allows me to repaint those kitchen cabinets to look a little more like our bathrooms.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taming the Monster

No, I'm not talking about my hair this morning.  And I'm not talking about cleaning Alli's eternally messy room despite her vast organization and storage options.  And I'm definitely not talking about teaching my little Panda to sit-stay either.  That'll be the day.

I'm talking about repainting the kitchen.  Cue horrified scream.

I think this is from the movie Psycho?  Let me know if you know.  Picture from here.
Why does this task conjure such horror?  Let's dive in.
  1. The kitchen is presently dark, dark purple.  I love purple.  Painting over purple is almost like painting over teal, while not quite as bad as painting over pink.  It's just great color.  We've had some good meals, great gatherings, and lots of fun in the purple kitchen.  I hate to see it go.
  2. The kitchen is presently dark, dark purple.  Purple is a hard color to paint over.  This paint job originally took one coat of primer and three coats of paint.  That's four total coats of paint for you non-mathematicians.  It's now going to be the same Lotus Leaf by Behr Ultra as the living room (a few samples of that paint color here).  That's a medium bluish-green grey.  Not sure how many coats it's going to take to cover a plum purple.
  3. It took 4 coats last time - and it wasn't easy.  With all of the cabinets, windows, doorways, and the fridge to paint behind, no kitchen painting undertaking is ever pleasant.  We chronic painters love a good bedroom or a hallway.  But bathrooms and kitchens strike fear in our hearts.  All of that cutting in. Shudder.
  4. I'm going it alone.  Ryan's gone today to an ultimate frisbee tournament.  I know.  But anyway, he's gone to that.  Even if he were here, he wouldn't be a huge help.  While an excellent roller, Ryan is no ace at cutting.  There's only really two or three half-walls to roll - the rest is cutting.  All me.
I got the bottom half cut last night, but that was the easy part.  Now comes the part where I balance on the counter, reach over the cabinets, and yank the fridge out and crawl behind it.  So say your prayers to patron saint of paint, and maybe I'll have some super pics for you later.  Until then - think of me often.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Minor Facelift

Thanks to my friend Meredith at Welcome to Heardmont for reminding me that I have a Picnik account, we're rocking a new look over at the Lowe Down.  And now that I'm flipping back and forth, I apparently loved Meredith's font and layout so much I copied it without meaning to...sorry, Mer, but you must've picked the best font and picture arrangement!  It was super easy though and about time for a little face lift.  Gotta keep this blog fresh-faced like the ladies of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!  I do wish I had mad coding skills so that I could make the ol' blogerator even prettier, but until I take the time to figure it out (or befriend a pro at navigating Blogger...any volunteers?!), I'll stick with the standard layout.

I've been recovering from strep throat the past few days - amazing what my rugrat can bring home with her besides beautiful artwork all "To: Tata" and scuffed up shoes.  Do not catch strep.  It is deadly.  I woke up with a sore throat Monday morning, but I figured it was a little cold.  And we all know how I feel about getting sick.  I started going rapidly downhill Monday afternoon at work, but I convinced myself it was nothing, until I could barely walk around Monday night to do my normal mommy-wifey duties. Crash.  101 degrees of fever and 2 days later, I am feeling a million times better.  But it was touch and go there for a while - or so I thought.

We have a major project I'm hoping to undertake this weekend before we have guests next weekend - stay tuned and have a great, healthy rest of the week!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tweakin' Weekend

Unfortunately, I spent most of the past week at home suffering through 18" of snow and closed schools.  I usually enjoy every season as it comes, but I've really had about enough snow.  So of course, as soon as I could, I exited Chateau Lowe and went shopping for some fun, hopefully cheap, and minor home tweaks this weekend.   We decided to take a weekend off from major changes like painting and updating our bathrooms (and living room...I hadn't told you about that one yet!), so I was able to spend my time looking for art and accessories to fill voids.

My girlfriend Lindsey and I both spotted these awesome frames at Pier One.  Score!!  I took the glass and back off so that they just come off as artwork rather than frames.  Our living rooms is a little framed-picture-heavy as it is, so these take up some space and add some interest in a slightly different way.  [And note to self, I need to angle these pictures better so that everything doesn't look like I have a ton of wall showing.  These rather nicely fill a gap in the living room, but you can't tell from this picture!]  Please notice the new soft silvery blue walls - Lotus Leaf by my favorite paint brand, Behr Utlra.  Maybe I'm turning into a boring old grown-up after all, but I love this color.  It sets off the gorgeous floors Ryan installed a few years ago and makes the white trim and accents pop.

I also happened to drop by the Habitat For Humanity ReStore where you can get great home appliances, furniture, windows, light fixtures, globes, name it for super cheap.  And 100% of the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity - what could be better??  Anyway, I snatched about 4 picture frames for a grand total of $1.75 for my new hallway art.  I sprayed all of them a glossy white, threw in some frames I already had, and voila!  I need to go back and grab a few more, but this is a great start (and for $1.75 for frames and $3 for spray delightfully thrifty!).

I also happened upon this little bowl at Pier One for $2.50.  He needs some books to sit on, but I had to grab him when I saw him!

And here's my most favorite tweak, some new art for the kitchen!  We'd had a rather large shelf with a nice hodge podge of items in the kitchen for some time, but it sort of blocked a doorway.  In this glorious but tiny house, we need all the space we can get!  So knowing that a major kitchen repaint is going to be underway next weekend, I decided to begin the redecorating process and remove the shelf, disperse its contents throughout the house, and consider replacements.  Of course artwork would be our best bet given the space issue.  I can be a Goldilocks when shopping for artwork (too big, too small, too colorful, too plain, too expensive), but when I happened upon this DIY artwork project at my sorority sister Cara's blog Live the Home Life (fast becoming a HUGE favorite and great source of inspiration for me), I thought, "I love those and I can so do that."  I grabbed some 24x24 canvases at Jo Ann's along with some paint and go to work.  Cara's are black, but I decided to throw some grey in for a slightly different twist.  TAAAA DAAAAAA!!!  Love them - so easy and intentionally imperfect, meaning impossible for an art dummy like me to screw up.

Minor tweaking, filling up walls, and bringing it all together on this finally warm weekend.  Hope you had a good one!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Meet The Pets: The Landry Edition

And now, for what I can only hope is the absolute final (for a long time) post in the Meet the Pets series, please meet Two Lowes Doomsday Defense.  We just call him Landry around here.  I'll give you non-Cowboys junkies a little history lesson - our bundle of bulldog joy is named after Tom Landry, the first coach in Cowboys history, who amassed consecutive winning seasons from 1966-1985.  Untouchable.  Who else were we going to name this pup after?  (And for those of you keeping track, he's Landry Jones Lowe.  Not after the OU quarterback.  Great Joneses.  Like Jerry.  Or Felix.)

Proudly sporting the silver and blue - Go Boys!
Surely you'll remember the day we brought this little bundle of joy home.  Who knew that sweet little baby would grow into such a lovable monster?  I'm serious.  I could write a Marley and Me-style book about the trouble this dog has caused.  But you really really can't stay mad at the Panda.  Check that face.  And the fact that he lets you dress him.  Priceless.

Here's a little backstory on how we ended up with the world's worst dog:  My parents got my brother his first dog, Emmett, for Christmas in 2009.  We Lowes, being avid animal lovers always in the market to take on more than we can handle, were smitten with this adorable puppy with an excellent personality and a penchant for snoozing the day away in my brother's lap.  Plus he was shorter than Cash, but sturdy enough to hold his own with our beloved rowdy boxer.  And really, who can resist that mug?

Emmett Angel Holloway - my neph-dog precioso
We were definitely hankering for our own bulldog after spending a week with that dude.  We quickly called the breeder and arranged to make Emmett's half-bro ours less than a month later.  And man, oh man, were we smitten.  We overlook snoring, terrible gastrointestinal issues despite his premium food, and a little bit of slobber because he truly is such a joy.

 Okay, maybe he looks a little goofy post-nap.  And when I say nap - this dog sleeps 22 hours a day.  Which is probably for the best, considering the two hours he's awake he's a total nightmare.  Maybe it's delayed and extended puppyhood, but Landry is in to EVERYTHING.  Alli's toys, our cats, whatever Cash has.  He eats, sniffs, chews on, and steals anything not nailed down.  And he's kind of an instigator.  He and Cash are best buds, but he definitely picks the fights with his older brother, only to whine loudest until Mommy comes running to break them up (usually followed with a little scolding of Cash just like Landry planned).

Cash is gagging right now.  The baby gets all the attention.
We just wuv our wittle Wanders.  But I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you, the cheapest thing we did was buy the dog.  He's been quite expensive with bouts of demodectic mange, a histiocytoma, and some serious eye issues.  Plus he can be very stubborn and training him takes a lot of patience and determination.  So please make sure you're an experienced dog owner who can spend your trust fund keeping this dog healthy.

Worth it.

And in case you missed it (or just want to relive the joy) meet CashieGeeg, and Queen Lola too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Easy Breezy Master Bedroom Update

I have to confess, I've already redone a room I revealed.  I know you won't find it too surprising, but I wanted you to hear it from me first.  Remember the big master bedroom reveal here?  Well, by the time I got around to revealing that room, I was already malcontent with it.  So I set out to bring a little more Lauren to the room.

I think I fell into a little bit of a decor rut - green, blue, green, blue.  It's funny that neither of those is top on my list of favorite colors (hello, pink, purple, and teal), but somehow I find them so inspiring in home decor.  I always want to consider our master bedroom a haven and a place I love, so I set out for some tweaks.  Primarily in the bedding department.  We opted for a duvet cover and down insert rather than a bedspread, hoping that it would be easier to wash (and replace) given zoo-like conditions thanks to the four animals and one kindergartener that call Casa Lowe home.  So when bedding was 20% off at West Elm, I snagged this feather grey crinkled duvet (and the insert was from when they were having a deal too.  Yay for spam email!!).  I figured it would blend in our bedroom while bringing a slightly different (and more grounded) color into the room.  And of course, as usual, I was right.  Then the pale green accessories seemed out of place, so I did a little artful work with spray paint, grabbed some throw pillows, and voila!

You know I had to squeeze Ryno the Rhino in there somewhere.  Love him.  That pale blue wall paint shows up so bold in the pictures, but I promise it's soft.  Like a whisper.

Hmm, eying that bed picture has me wondering what's missing?  Do I need to dress up that end table a little more?  I promise in real life it doesn't feel like there's room.

So there you have it.  This wasn't the cheapest makeover in the world, thanks to the new bedding, but I feel like the grey is a good base for the next time I get a wild hair and want to update the accessories.  I'm trying to work a can of purple in here somewhere...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday: Guest Bathroom Reveal

What a week!!  Alli went to school one day last week and we were snowed in under less than an inch of ice and eventually 6"+ of snow.  I love a snow day (or two!) like the next girl, but 4 got to me.  Got to me so much I did several projects - and now I'm about to reveal one to you!

But first, obligatory photo of the casa in the snow.  I took this Friday night after our last snowfall for the week (more predicted tonight.  Can't wait.  Sarcasm.).

Pretty, huh?  It's nice to look at, but trust me, I'm sick of it.  On to the project!

Remember the master bath makeover?  (Why wouldn't you, it was my last post.  But if you need a refresher, scroll down.)  We decided to give Alli's bathroom the same treatment.  Previously it was a dark grey with purple undertones called Mountain Ridge by Behr.  Here's a pic I rustled up for you.

 You can see the boring builder-grade cabinets in that picture as well.  Cue makeover photos.

Here's the updated cabinets with the same paint color and hardware as the master bath.  I absolutely love this simple, inexpensive upgrade for both bathrooms.  Yes, that $80 kit lasted us across two bathrooms and there's still plenty left.  And it was stupidly easy to do. If you need a refresher on the process, get it here.

This picture has a good shot of the wall color - it's actually a shade darker than our master bathroom, but definitely in the same family - it's called Cricket in the Behr Ultra collection.  Wowza - how open and airy does this bathroom feel now??  I really loved Mountain Ridge, but this rather narrow bathroom with a lone skinny window above the shower doesn't exactly get a ton of light.  Now it feels twice as big!  The shower curtain is the same one as in our master bath, and I hung it right by the ceiling.  It really makes the room feel more significant and elegant, and though it does block the window, the white curtain is sheer enough to still let it lots of light.  Love.

Here are two more shots of the room.  I actually only had to buy the shower curtain and paint in this room as far as accessories go.  The rest was already in there or got moved from another room.  Alli and I made that artwork right after we moved in - isn't it cute?  It's really simple, maybe a little too simple, but it is her bathroom and I love that we made it together.  And yes, I stood on the toilet to take these pictures (it's a rather long skinny bathroom, so getting good angles is tricky).  And yes, Junior Chief of Security came to inspect.

So, for a weekend of work and about $120 - that's $60 for cabinet paint and hardware, $30 for the shower curtain, and $30 for the gallon of paint - we have a brand new bathroom!  I do need something over the towel rack, but I'm trying not to feel too rushed about it.  I want it to find me!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday to all of you.  Friday was Mr. Lowe Down's birthday, so we are having his party today with a few friends.  The house is clean, the beer is chilled, and the marg machine is ready to rock.  Go Cowboys!!  Or whatever.